NEWS

Michael MacIsaac's family wants SIU probe re-opened

12/07/2014 06:40 EST | Updated 02/06/2015 05:59 EST
The family of a man shot and killed by police in Durham Region last year is disputing a watchdog's findings and urging it to re-open an investigation into his death.

"We've found many inconsistencies," said Joanne MacIsaac, when speaking to reporters in Toronto on Sunday about the death of her 47-year-old brother, Michael, at the hands of police.

Michael MacIsaac had left his Ajax, Ont., home naked on the morning of Dec. 2, 2013, which prompted calls to police. His family has said that he was delirious at the time of the shooting and had suffered from lifelong epilepsy following a childhood head injury.

The province's Special Investigations Unit would later report that police would receive "multiple calls" about MacIsaac and his behaviour.

The SIU investigates all incidents involving police in Ontario in which serious injury or death result, or when allegations of sexual assault are raised.

It reported that MacIsaac had confronted "three separate motorists" before he had an interaction with police. The SIU has said that he banged on the windows of several cars and in one case approached a female driver with a rock and then subsequently picked up a patio table and hit it against the front door of her home.

When officers caught up with MacIsaac, the SIU has said that he was holding two legs that had broken off a patio table that he had struck against that door.

According to the SIU, MacIsaac approached an officer while "holding one of the metal legs in a threatening fashion."

The officer ordered MacIsaac to drop the metre-long "weapon," but he did not comply and the officer fired two shots.

MacIsaac was first taken to a local hospital and then flown to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, where he succumbed to his injuries in the early hours of Dec. 3, 2013.

After investigating the death of MacIsaac, the SIU determined there were "no reasonable grounds" to charge the Durham officer who shot him.

'No de-escalation'

Joanne MacIsaac said that her brother was shot just seconds after police arrived at the scene a year ago.

"There was no de-escalation, how could there possibly have been?" she said.

In terms of the alleged inconsistencies, MacIsaac said that her family believes her brother was further from police when he was shot than what the SIU has reported. She also said that while it has been alleged that her brother had two table legs in his hand, the family has a photo showing that the table still has three legs attached.

"We sent them a very long letter in July and it stated many more inconsistencies as well, even missed witnesses — people who we know went on the street and said: 'I saw something' and the SIU never, ever called them," she said.

MacIsaac said that her family has had "lots of communication" with the SIU about their concerns, which has included dozens of emails, as well as phonecalls.

The SIU told CBC News on Sunday that it is "always willing to consider reopening its investigations in the event of new material information," including in the MacIsaac case should such information be provided to its investigators.

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